Standard Operating Procedures - A complete guide

Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) are key to many businesses these days. Not only do they document the successful process to maintain a quality product, output or procedure. In many circumstances they are the key to ensuring regulatory compliance. This SOP guide provides an overview of the creation process.

The creation of a SOP is just one small part of success. The whole lifecycle needs to be considered from creation, through to training and distribution. Then, there needs to be consideration for review and updates during the SOP lifespan. This standard operating procedure guide will consider all of these steps.

What is an SOP?

Firstly, let's define what a SOP is. An SOP is a document that outlines the steps that are required to complete a particular process. SOPs are used in many different industries to ensure that work is done in a consistent and efficient manner. They can be used to document procedures for anything from manufacturing processes to customer service protocols. SOPs can help to improve the quality of work, reduce errors, and increase efficiency by providing clear and detailed instructions for completing tasks.

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Creating Standard Operating Procedures for your organisation doesn't have to be complicated. This guide will introduce you to the whole lifecycle from creation to training and distribution.

The SOP pie diagram

This Blog is the first in a series describing some of those key elements, picking out some of the pitfalls and areas to focus on. We will also cover technology, people and process considerations for each of the main areas. To help us describe this we have created the ‘SOP Pie’. This diagram shows at a high level the SOP lifecycle and can be used as a standard operating procedures guide. 

The SOP Pie, image showing a guide to standard operating procedures

In truth there is no such thing as a ‘complete guide’ to SOPs, as the scenarios in which SOP’s are used are almost endless, and every situation has too many different variables to be able to list them all. There are however some quite simple considerations, checks and steps to help ensure success.

In each instalment of this guide, we will dig deeper into one of the six ‘slices’ in our ‘SOP pie’. We hope to provide a good insight in order to help ensure you and your organization are successful and efficient when it comes to SOP’s.

Don’t miss our next blog which will cover the ‘Scope and Purpose’ considerations of the SOP lifecycle!... All of the posts in this series are linked below so you can easily navigate through them: